Will Burton is a lanky, awkward, chinless wonder with an unhealthy David Bowie obsession. He loves rock, punk, and ska, and he's crushed to see the legendary CBGB downgraded to a T-shirt logo that Paris Hilton wears if she wants to look cool. He also gets constantly tormented at school. Natch.

But after his mom takes a new job in Jersey, Will is given a chance to start over. And start over he does. On his first day of school, he befriends two hot girls: Charlotte Banks and Sa5m ("the five is silent"—insert eye roll here).

Charlotte is a blond Velvet Underground–loving senior who inexplicably turned her back on her head-cheerleading ways to embrace a life of rock and roll with the nerd herd. She says shit like "I don't do why" whenever faced with why questions. Sa5m (played by the clothes-fearing Vanessa Hudgens) is a moody, bookwormy brunette who inexplicably inserts a silent number five in the middle of her name. She says shit like "Emotions are overrated" and slumps around looking constipated most of the time.

While Will tries to juggle friendships (and maybe more!?!) with both of these young ladies, he also falls into the role of "band manager" for Charlotte's ill-named band the Glory Dogs, a high-school trio of musical misfits who have more aspiration than they do talent.

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They'd love to win the school's annual battle of the bands, but they know they don't stand a chance armed only with half-assed Cheap Trick covers. That's where Will comes in. Charlotte recognizes little Willy's bona fide music-geek status and recruits him to show the band how to be an honest to god good band. And he does! With nearly the exact same music-making montage we've already seen in School of Rock.

Basically, Bandslam is Nick and Norah's Infinite High School Musical of Rock, and if you take your little sister, chances are she'll walk out of the theater wanting a David Bowie CD instead of that Jonas Brothers bullshit. And for that reason alone, I'm so glad this movie exists. recommended

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